When Fantagraphics launched our collection of Krazy Kat Sunday strips back in 2002, we picked up with the 10th and 11th years of the legendary strip (1925-1926) because another publisher had already collected the first nine during the 1980s and 1990s. But now, with that publisher long gone and their Krazy Kat collections fetching record prices (some over $100!) among collectors, its time to go back and get every one of these comic-strip masterpieces back into print re-scanned and re-retouched from original tearsheets, using 21st century digital resources.
Fantagraphics will be collecting these first nine years of Sundays into three volumes comprising three years apiece, starting with the very first Sundays from 1916 through 1918, and incorporating all the original articles and special features from the first edition, including rare art, series editor Bill Blackbeards definitive historical overview The Kats Kreation, and updated and expanded DeBaffler endnotes explaining some of the arcana behind the strips jokes.
Krazy Kat, with its eternally beguiling love triangle of kat/dog/mouse, its fantastically inventive language, and its haunting, minimalist desert décor, has consistently been rated (literally) the best comic strip ever created, and Fantagraphics award-winning series one of the best classic comic-strip reprint series ever published. Krazy and Ignatz 1916-1918, the 11th of a projected 13 volumes collecting the entirety of the Sundays, brings us within a bricks throw of finishing The Komplete Kat Sundays once and for all!
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"The feature had been running in a daily version since 1913, so its familiar elements are all in place, from the fanciful, Yiddish-inflected wordplay to the eternal triangle of lovesick Krazy, scornful Ignatz Mouse, and loyal Offissa Pupp. Whats new is the larger canvas that allowed Herriman to display his brilliantly idiosyncratic drawing and vastly imaginative design sense on the then-huge, broadsheet newspaper page." – Gordon Flagg, Booklist
"At this point, no one should need any convincing that Krazy Kat is one of the greatest works of comic art ever created, and that it should form the foundation of any good collection. All thats needed is the knowledge of where to start and what format to choose. With that in mind, Fantagraphics has outdone itself with Krazy & Ignatz 1916-1918: Love in a Kestle or Love in a Hut. ... Herrimans work probably hasnt looked this good since it first appeared in newspapers more than 90 years ago. ... [Grade] A" The A.V. Club
Praise for Krazy Kat and the Krazy & Ignatz series:
Endlessly perplexing, energetic, deep, and playful. Sarah Boxer, The New York Review of Books
"In truth, nothing less needs to be propped up on the ivory stilts of 'fine art' than Krazy Kat. On a daily basis, in a medium designed to provide simple diversion, Herriman went about his business unpretentiously, seemingly effortlessly, leaving an American masterpiece in his wake." – San Francisco Chronicle
"Herriman's panels convey an irrepressible sense of movement and incorporate distinctly surreal touches, such as the thronged mushrooms that 'rise to feast in florid fungushood,' blooming like umbrellas under a cheese-slice moon." – The New Yorker
"This beautifully produced series is a must for any reader interested in great art." – Publishers Weekly
"George Herriman was one of the very great artists, in any medium, of the 20th century." – Michael Chabon
"Mr. Herriman's scratchy, elastic line revolutionized the art of comics, as did his canny psychologizing." – The New York Times
"Don't read 'Krazy Kat' because it's good for you. Read it because it is you, an American being, immigrant-infused, with a light-hearted sense of infinite promise. Herriman's art, word and line, is so damn deep, so damn wonderful and so damnably us." – Los Angeles Times Book Review
Herriman was one of those godsent popular artists like Chaplin, Armstrong, Hitchcock, and Dylan, whose low art makes mincemeat of the high. Tom DeHaven